Unsung hero: Donald Darrow Matson's legacy in pediatric neurosurgery

Roberta Rehder, Subash Lohani, Alan R. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Donald Darrow Matson made seminal contributions to the field of pediatric neurosurgery. Born in 1913 in Fort Hamilton, New York, Matson was the youngest of four sons of an army colonel. He graduated from Cornell University and, years later, from Harvard Medical School. Matson selected Peter Bent Brigham Hospital for his neurosurgical training, which was interrupted during World War II. As a neurosurgeon, he worked close to the front lines under Brigadier General Elliot Cutler in Europe, earning a Bronze Star. Matson returned to Boston to become Franc Ingraham's fellow and partner. He was a masterful surgeon and, with Ingraham, published Neurosurgery of Infancy and Childhood in 1954, the first pediatric neurosurgery textbook in the world. Upon Ingraham's retirement, Matson became chairman of the department of neurosurgery at Boston Children's Hospital and Peter Bent Brigham. In 1968, he became the inaugural Franc D. Ingraham Professor of Neurological Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Among his neurosurgical accomplishments, Matson served as President of the Harvey Cushing Society, later known as the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. He was unable to preside at the 1969 meeting that marked the 100th anniversary of Cushing's birth, having contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Matson died at the age of 55, surviving his mentor Ingraham by only 4 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-494
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Donald Darrow Matson
  • Franc Ingraham
  • History
  • Pediatric neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology

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